July 7, 2011
The Croi (pronounced Cree) is the name of the building at Corrymeela where worship is typically held. For the first week that I was here, the carpets were being cleaned, and worship was held in the lounge of the main house. I was disappointed, as I had heard several folks who have been to Corrymeela speak about this incredible building as one of the highlights of their trip here.
I have posted a few pictures below – the path to the Croi, the building from the outside, and a couple of pictures of the inside. Also, I’m including a picture of the bell that is rung twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, to call people to worship. It is from the parish church of St. Patrick, Kilcock, in Co. Kildare, and was cast in Dublin in 1869.
This is an excerpt from the book ‘Travelling The Road of Faith, Worship Resources from the Corrymeela Community’ about the building:
The Croi opened in 1979 to serve as a worship centre, conference space, theatre and focal point for all those using the centre. “Croi” is the Gaelic word for “heart” and the building actually resembles the shape of the human heart with its different chambers all flowing into each other. The Croi also acts as a heart for the centre. ... The Croi is also shaped like an ear. It is a place of listening to each other and to God.”
Each week there is a Worship Coordinator, whose responsibility is to coordinate the daily worship times. Volunteers and participants are invited to offer leadership for any one or more of the 12 daily worship times through the week, and for the one 12:30 pm worship time on Sunday. The experiences are varied depending on the offerings of the worship leader, and a couple of times this week when the sun was out we actually stood outside the Croi and offered prayers and morning gestures as our centring time.
I have offered worship twice this week, both during the morning times. Many of you know that this is a particular passion of mine, and folks here are also beginning to know that I am always willing to offer something when there are gaps in the schedule. I’ve also been asked to be a Worship Coordinator for a week later in July.
As well as offering leadership during these times, I will make it my personal goal to attend each morning and each night’s worship while I’m here. It is a great gift to be led during these times by so many different folks, and to be part of a community that values this aspect of life together. So far I have experienced the leadership of staff, community members, and summer volunteers.
Also, I am moved that many attendees from the programs also attend these worship times. This week, in the space of a day we went from the energy of the young teens in the morning, to the evening worship that included participants of the next program that came to Corrymeela – folks with special needs and their caregivers (over 30 in total), who are here for holiday and respite. It been a humbling and spirit filled experience.
Next week, once again the place is filled with over 50 youth from Belfast, and a family group which will include a number of participants that are under 18. Tomorrow, I start on my first program team, led by Michaela, one of the long term volunteers. It will be with the family group, and it lasts seven days. Prayers for sustained energy welcomed!!